N Korea hold Socceroos
Australia and North Korea shared the spoils 1-1 on Wednesday night at Hong Kong Stadium in their East Asian Cup qualifying match. Archie Thompson opened the scoring for the Socceroos in the fifth minute, but An Yong-hak equalized for North Korea in the 64th. The draw leaves North Korea top of the five-team group and favorites to qualify for the finals next year in South Korea alongside the hosts, China and Japan. North Korea lead the group with seven points after three games, three more than Australia who have played two, but more importantly with a far superior goal-difference then their nearest challengers. In today’s 5:50pm kickoff, the Socceroos take on bottom side Guam, while at 8:30pm fourth-placed Taiwan face third-placed Hong Kong.
Pakistan beat Germany
Shakeel Abassi scored goals in the 39th and 51st minutes to give Pakistan a 2-1 win over Olympic gold medalists Germany in yesterday’s quarter-final of the men’s hockey Champions Trophy. Moritz Furste had given the rebuilding London Games champions a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute. Pakistan are to play London silver medalists the Netherlands in a semi-final tomorrow. The Dutch beat New Zealand 2-0 yesterday. India were to play Belgium and four-time defending champions Australia were scheduled to take on England in later matches yesterday to determine the other semi-finalists. The final is scheduled for Sunday.
Star takes US$4.4m pay cut
Japanese baseball star Michihiro Ogasawara has been handed a US$4.4 million pay cut, smashing the previous salary-slashing record of just over half that amount. Ogasawara had been on a two-year deal with the top-ranking Yomiuri Giants worth ￥430 million (US$5.21 million) per season, the joint-highest pay check in the league. However, after a dismal few months in the infield, during which he was twice relegated to the club’s farm team after suffering injuries, Ogasawara declared himself happy with a meager ￥70 million. “I am all determined to work hard next season. It’s like starting from zero,” 39-year-old Ogasawara told Japanese media. He played in 34 games for the Giants this year, his fewest since his rookie season in 1997, batting .152 and scoring four runs-batted-in with no home-run.
David George gets ban
Lance Armstrong’s former US Postal Service teammate David George has been banned for two years for doping. The South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport says George did not attend a hearing where his ban was decided. He admitted using the blood-booster EPO last month after failing an out-of-competition test. George rode on Armstrong’s team in 1999 and 2000. Armstrong was banned for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping.
Sports fans can sue
A federal judge on Wednesday allowed sports fans to pursue a lawsuit accusing Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and various networks of antitrust violations in how they package games for broadcast on TV or the Internet. US District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan said the subscribers could pursue claims that the packaging has reduced competition, raised prices and kept them from watching their favorite teams located outside their home markets.